Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Flabbergasted

The Force is strong in this on. Go see it.

Go see it now!

Gripping events happen. People react to them like real people. There's even genuine humor. As an added plus, the folks with Force powers don't act like total idiots. You know, all the stuff that was missing from the still-life merchandising scam Lucas tried to pass off as a prequel trilogy.

It's simply astounding how much better this movie is than the prequels. This honestly feels like a Star Wars movie instead of a graduate thesis on green screen technology. I'll be the first to admit that part of that is due to the immensely stabilizing presence of Harrison Ford, who slips back into the role of an aged Han Solo with an ease that is a pleasure to behold. But he doesn't appear for a some thirty to forty minutes, and the movie is still good before that.

So what can I say that doesn't constitute spoilers? The remains of the Empire have coalesced into a Nazi-like scourge called the First Order. It's bent on conquest while the Republic fights back with a new resistance under the command of General Leia Organa. There's a new Darth Vader in town as well, name of Kylo Ren, and he has a lineage that hits painfully home with our original heroes. He was, in fact, trained by Luke Skywalker before being seduced to the Dark Side. That event so devastated the guilt-stricken Luke that he vanished.

The resistance has found a map that may lead them to Skywalker's hiding place. The beleaguered pilot entrusted with it, Poe Dameron, is immediately set upon by Kylo Ren, at which point he entrusts the map to a delightful new droid named BB8. Poe is captured, only to be saved by a... stormtrooper? FN-2187, having been abducted as a child and trained to serve the First Order, has  had quite enough of mindless slaughter, thank you. His deal for Poe is simple--I break you out, you fly me far, far away. Poe agrees, but refuses to call anyone FN-2187.

It's Finn from here on out.

BB8 hooks up with a female machine scavenger by the name of Rey. She's quick of her feet, skilled at kicking your ass with a staff, and has a murky back story all her own. She was abandoned on the planet Jakku as a child and still believes someone is coming for her. She's Force sensitive, too, major league Force sensitive, so you can start guessing at who her relatives might be early on.

Rey meets up with Finn. Kylo Ren is looking for BB8, so the two of them are eventually forced to flee in a pile of junk called... the Millennium Falcon. Once they've got it, Han and Chewy can't be far behind, right? From there we're off and running, first trying to save BB8, then trying to save Ren, then trying to save whole worlds from a big bad cannon powered by an entire sun. The climax features a heartbreaking surprise that only adds to the layers of hidden relationships echoing throughout this movie.

And yes, in the final scene we do see Luke Skywalker. He looks troubled.

I don't. Star Wars finally seems to be in good hands again with Disney.

It's about time.          

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